I thought the last entry would be the last in the series about how the church got to the place it is, but I was wrong. I have been in Nebraska for the past few days, through several interactions with my family here I have come to realize just how great the void of leadership is in the church. Even more interesting is how people who are not regularly engaged in the life of the church understand the leadership of the church.
I was sharing with a relative who works for the National Parks system about my thoughts of getting a PhD in the future, and focusing on leadership. This relative was amazed to learn that leadership was not the main focus of seminary curriculum. From where he observed the church, leadership was the most crucial thing a pastor could provide.
I believe at one point the church was predicated on leadership, with in the congregation, community , nation and world. We have come to a point where in function the role of leadership is something reserved for a select few, but not necessary for the development of the local church. This has been happening so long congregations have become trained to not look for leadership from their pastor. Most are simply looking for someone to manage the ministry, but move it in any particular direction with a future and a hope. The result, most churches have gone nowhere.
That may seem like a harsh criticism. After all there are thousands of wonderful church dinners every day. There are churches all across the nation who have people faithfully attending Sunday services, and even a few meetings here and there. The same people week in and week out. I guess you could say the church is being lead by accidental negligence. Accidental negligence, means because there is no leadership the church is headed in a direction. Death is a direction, just not one with a hope and a future.
Oh, Lord may I never settle for managing the church. May I never be found in accidental negligence. May I and others who have the obligation, privilege and responsibility to pastor the church, lead it in the path of God to a hope and a future.